It’s been a busy couple of months filled with travel, family time, baby prep, seeing friends again, summer book guide writing and, yes, a little bit of reading in there too. In other words, summer is in full force! And today I’m sharing some of my favorite things from the last few months. From the most thought-provoking articles to the best audiobooks to the clothes that are keeping me cool, these are the little things that have made my kick-off to summer so great.
What I Read
I read some great books over the last two months. Since I’ll be publishing my best books of the year so far in the coming days, I’m going to save my detailed thoughts for that post, but a few May and June highlights were Disfigured by Amanda Leduc, The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia, Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller, and my reread of The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton for an upcoming July episode of Novel Pairings.
I can’t wait to read Anne Helen Petersen’s newsletter series all about the culture of Peloton. The first post was such a fun and thoughtful read.
What I Watched
I haven’t been watching much TV recently. Mostly that’s because the NBA Playoffs are dominating our screen at the moment (my husband watches, I read or work on the couch next to him). Of course I finished the season of Mare of Easttown, which I loved, and Top Chef.
I also watched Crime of the Century on HBO. Most of it was repeat information from reading Empire of Pain, but seeing the people who featured prominently in that book was still really interesting to me.
What I Listened To
I binged No One is Coming to Save Us, which was depressing but an essential listen. It’s all about how the lack of childcare support is failing American parents and what we can do about it. (This podcast is way overproduced, in my opinion, but the information makes it worth it.)
This season of Slow Burn is about the leadup to the Iraq war and it’s fantastic. Informative, so thoughtful, nuanced, and just all around great storytelling–it’s everything I want from a serial podcast.
I listened to some great podcast episodes about cancel culture. This Ezra Klein Show episode is probably the best thing I listened to. I also really enjoyed the You’re Wrong About episodes on political correctness and The Chicks (formerly known as The Dixie Chicks), and then their episode addressing cancel culture head on.
Marlon & Jake Read Dead People is back, and I love listening to these two readers debate the merits of classic literature.
*You can get two LIBRO.FM audiobooks for the price of one with my link or by using code FICTIONMATTERS.
What I Made
My Paperback Summer Reading Guide. I loved putting together this list of 30 beloved books, organized by reading book. While I always look forward to summer’s shiny new releases, I often prefer toting around a paperback. I know many of you feel the same, and I hope this list has given you a jumping off point for your own backlist summer reading.
I haven’t been cooking much beyond our weekly Blue Apron boxes. We did make and love simple salmon recipe and have been frequently throwing together our summer go-to of pesto pasta with goat cheese and whatever veggies sound good at the moment.
Mostly the last month has been dedicated to making space and plans for the baby. We’re having built-in bookshelves put in in our living room so what’s currently my library/office can become baby’s space. I’m so lucky to have a good friend who’s an incredibly talented woodworker and I can’t wait for the finished product!
The Things I Loved
Visiting bookstores again has been such a wonderful. While we were in DC, I went to Politics & Prose, Kramers, and Old Town Books in Alexandria. I picked up a few great titles in each including Heaven by Mieko Kawakami, Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia, and Strange Hotel by Eimear McBride.
It’s been very hot in Denver (and so many other places, I know!), and I’ve been rotating through wearing the handful of things that fit my ever-growing bump and help me stay cool. I’m primarily living in Lululemon Align bike shorts. They are insanely comfy and stretchy, but as with all Lululemon, be sure to size up! I also love the Align wide leg cropped pants.
I haven’t given into the Nap Dress craze because I think the ruffle sleeves would drive me crazy, but I’ve found a few easy breezy, tiered dresses that I do love. This one from Marine Layer is so great I bought it in two colors. I also love this gingham one from Madewell–and I’ve never worn gingham in my life. Old Navy and Gap also have super cute options.
Sunscreen has been very important to me this summer as I’ve been trying to get out for more walks. I have multiple favorites that I rotate through. I love all things Supergoop including the Glowscreen for when I want a slightly dewy look, Unseen when I don’t, and Play for body protection. I also love their touchup powder. Elta MD is also great nongreasy coverage and if it’s really dry here I use Biossance’s face sunscreen because it’s incredibly hydrating.
I started wearing Bala bangles on my wrists or ankles during my evening walks. I still feel funny walking around my neighborhood with them, but I do think it’s an easy way to get a little more out of my walks!